Hur­lock VFD ac­quires cus­tom-built lad­der truck

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

HUR­LOCK — A gleam­ing, brand-new, cus­tom-built $1 mil­lion lad­der truck is the im­pres­sive new ad­di­tion to Hur­lock Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany’s fleet of firetrucks.

The com­pany’s Tower 6 lad­der truck was ded­i­cated on Oct. 1 to Charles “PopPop” Coul­bourne for his 65 years of still-ac­tive ser vice with the fire com­pany.

Al­though the com­pany has owned two sec­ond­hand “tow­ers” in the past, this is the com­pany’s first new lad­der truck. Fire­fight­ers be­gan plan­ning the truck pur­chase three or four years ago, ac­cord­ing to 1st Asst. Chief Mar­lon Parker.

“From the day we signed the pa­pers,” Parker said, “it took about 16 months to build it from the frame up.”

The il­lu­mi­nated 102-foot lad­der has self-con­tained breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus, wa­ter de­liv­ery sys­tem and dig­i­tal con­trols in the bas­ket and on the truck.

The han­dles are all back­lit, and the roll-up side win­dows are specif­i­cally de­signed so that they won’t swing out and im­pede the move­ment of fire­fight­ers. The wa­ter tank holds 500 gal­lons. Bright LED lights il­lu­mi­nate the en­tire truck, in­clud­ing the back­lit shield panel.

“Ev­ery­one is re­ally im­pressed with it,” 3rd Asst. Chief Billy Coul­bourne said. Dur­ing the 124th Mary­land State Fire­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion Con­ven­tion in Ocean City last sum­mer, “ev­ery­one com­pli­mented us on how we out­fit­ted it.”

The truck’s state-of-the-art features are not just “bells and whis­tles.” “This truck low­ers the IOS (in­sur­ance risk) rat­ing for busi­nesses” in the com­mu­nity, Parker said.

Chief Ja­son Trego of­fi­cially put the tower into com­mis­sion on Oct. 10.

The fire com­pany ob­tained “two real low in­ter­est loans for 20 and 25 years,” Parker said. One was a “mil­i­tary loan” and the other was from the USDA.

Lo­cal busi­nesses like Amick Farms, Win Trans­port and Koski Truck­ing also helped sup­port the pur­chase of the tower.

“We couldn’t do this with­out town sup­port and lo­cal busi­nesses,” said Coul­bourne, a mem­ber of the com­pany for 25 years.

The lad­der truck was man­u­fac­tured by Rosen­bauer in Lyons, South Dakota. The com­pany also pro­vided a three-day train­ing ses­sion to six Hur­lock fire­fight­ers.

The rig’s hy­draulic lad­der and ground lad­ders un­dergo annual MDOT in­spec­tions that run be­tween $1,500 to $3,000. The county helps with these ex­penses.

Parker, who joined the com­pany al­most 25 years ago said, “I just want to help peo­ple” and try to pre­vent the tragedy his fam­ily ex­pe­ri­enced in 1998. Parker’s eight-year-old twin cousins, Eric and Erica Austin, were killed in a Hur­lock house fire.

“We clean, and con­gre­gate and have a good time (at the fire­house),” Parker said. “But when the alarm comes in, that’s when you go to work.”

Hur­lock VFC’s Tower 6 lad­der truck was ded­i­cated on Oct. 1 to ac­tive mem­ber Charles “PopPop” Coul­bourne for his 65 years of ser­vice with the fire com­pany. Pic­tured, from left, are 2nd Asst. Chief R.J. Helmer, Fire Chief Ja­son Trego, Charles Coul­bourne, 1st Asst. Chief Mar­lon Parker and 3rd Asst. Chief Billy Coul­bourne.

Hur­lock VFC’s 3rd Asst. Chief Billy Coul­bourne and 1st Asst. Chief Mar­lon Parker proudly dis­play the com­pany’s $1 mil­lion, cus­tom-built Rosen­bauer lad­der truck.

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